Council to help rough sleepers in Harrow amid freezing conditions

Council to help rough sleepers in Harrow amid freezing conditions

Harrow Council has announced new plans to ensure “no one is left out” in freezing conditions and beyond.

It’s all part of a special new program of initiatives launched by Harrow Council to support those who are struggling to sleep and offer a route back to permanent accommodation. A new five-private bedroom Rough Sleeping Hub offers a safe haven for 28 days – time to assess needs, plan next steps and provide intensive personal support on issues such as mental health and addiction.

The new service also envisages specialized council officials touring the district twice a week, developing a relationship with rough sleepers and starting the talks that could ultimately offer a way out of the streets.

Abbs, 21, the first user of the new service, said: “It was difficult growing up, I didn’t get along with my family, I moved out last year but dropped out of college and got a job, but I’m looking for a job now. I appreciate having found this temporary home, it’s great not having to worry about where I sleep tonight.”

Cllr Mina Parmar, Head of Housing at Harrow Cabinet, said: “Fidget sleep is a small but significant problem in our borough. During the last Rough Sleeper count in November, we recently found 3 Rough Sleepers plus 6 others with no recourse to funds.

“For the people who have to survive on the streets, this can have a devastating impact on their lives. I am delighted to bring some welcome baskets to the residents of our newly opened Rough Sleeping Hub and to meet the outreach team who work so hard to help Rough Sleeping in Harrow.

Advice to help rough sleepers in Harrow in freezing conditions Harrow Online
Cllr Mina Parmar. Photo credit: Harrow Council

“Our program of engagement, support and housing is already beginning to make a difference in the district. It gives us the tools we need to address this issue and makes our commitment to eliminating rough sleep at Harrow a very real proposition – we want no one to be left out, especially in this freezing period.”

Last year Harrow Council purchased eight one-bedroom flats through a program called Housing First, which provides stable, independent homes and intensive personal support for people who are struggling to sleep.

Under the scheme, the council is working with the Thames Reach’s Rapid Reach, a London-wide team and 19 responders who search the streets at night, particularly in response to Streetlink reports.

The council’s program is integrated with the district’s charity and community sector, with many local organizations contributing significantly to its success.

Partners working on the Harrow project include FirmFoundation, a local charity for the homeless that provides day services including meals and showers; London Communal Kitchen; Harrow Street Pastors; WDP (Substance Misuse Service) and the NHS Rough Sleeping Mental Health Team. Support is offered by EACH, experts in dealing with ethnic minority clients.

To report someone sleeping badly in Harrow. Please provide as much information as possible about the person’s whereabouts, their description and the time you saw them.

Contact StreetLink via the website, the Android app or Apple app, or hotline 0300 500 0914.

You can also use Harrow’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Referral web form or contact Harrow’s Homelessness Prevention & Solutions team on 020 8424 1093 (also connects to the Out-of-Office Emergency Duty Team). In an emergency, dial 999 if the person is in immediate danger or needs urgent assistance.

Cllr Mina Parmar, head of Harrow’s cabinet for housing, said: “My advice to anyone concerned about becoming homeless is to get in touch with council as soon as possible. We are able to offer practical support that can really make a difference. We are currently offering cash grants to people in privately rented accommodation who need help to settle arrears and get back on track.

“We are looking for landlords across West London who are willing to let their property through our Help2let scheme – we offer cash incentives, rental guarantees and help with health and safety certification. Help2let – 020 8424 1605 or [email protected]

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